JDE denies loss of 300m cups of coffee due to union action

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unite claimed its industrial action has cost JDE more than £18m
Unite claimed its industrial action has cost JDE more than £18m

Related tags: Drinks

Claims that continuing industrial action at Jacob Douwe Egberts’s (JDE’s) plant in Banbury have resulted in a production shortfall of 300m cups of coffee are incorrect, according to the manufacturer.

Workers union Unite said production at the Ruscote Avenue site had ground down because of its members implementing two 24-hour strikes and an overtime ban, with the loss of about 600 tonnes of output. That equated to 6m jars or 300m cups of coffee, Unite estimated.

The union alleged that industrial action at the site had cost JDE more than £18m.

Unite national officer for food Joe Clarke said: “No responsible global management can allow local bosses to continue to chalk up such losses, which could mean some of the company’s top brands disappearing from UK supermarket shelves. I am sure shareholders will be making their views strongly felt on these losses.”

Incorrect figures

While JDE declined to share information on its figures, it maintained that the claims made about the impact on production were incorrect.

A JDE spokesman added: “We hope we can reach an agreement, but are confident we can continue to supply our products.”

The dispute surrounding what Unite terms plans to ‘fire and rehire’ 291 members of staff at the Banbury factory has resulted in the continuing union action.

At the most recent strike (15 May), Unite hit out at the manufacturer for filming its members protesting the site for ‘covert surveillance’ reasons​, allegations that were denied by JDE.

Demonstration and 72 hour strike

The union is to hold another demonstration outside the site this weekend (22 May) followed by a third strike that will last for 72 hours, which has been planned for 26 May.

Clarke added: “Before the dispute escalates throughout the summer and production grinds to a snail’s pace, the management needs to sit down with Unite to chart a constructive way forward.

“It should be remembered that these are the same loyal staff who worked flat out to meet the soaring demand of UK coffee drinkers during the pandemic. They deserve so much better than what the hardline JDE management plans for them.”

Related topics: People & Skills, Drinks

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